Here you’ll find links to Research reports and publications on snow leopard conservation issues by experts from around the world.
One of the most comprehensive and powerful reports on the trade of wild snow leopards is “Fading Footprints – the killing and trade of snow leopards.”
It’s a huge piece of research, published in 2003 by TRAFFIC , sadly it makes quite depressing reading. At the time the research was conducted, despite legislation protecting snow leopards in most of their range countries, they are still being hunted and killed for fur and body parts for traditional medicines. When furs can be sold for $US300-$US800 its easy to see the incentive. Retribution killing by farmers protecting livestock is also still common especially in areas where they’ve not had education on how to protect their livestock.
Recognising that all the range countries have different challenges the report outlines many recommendations for how things could be improved, like strengthening enforcement of the laws. This makes sense. Having laws isn’t enough, if they can’t be enforced snow leopards hunting will continue. The anti-poaching team, the Gruppa Bars in Kyrgyzstan (see blog post here) is one example of where law enforcement has made a difference.
Other recommendations include helping the local communities that share snow leopard habitat. This is one of the most important things that both the Snow Leopard Trust and the Snow Leopard Conservancy are doing. It’s been found that when local communities understand how rare and endangered snow leopards are, they are often willing to work to protect the cats as long as the community is not financially disadvantaged.
The report is almost 6 years old. Much has been done by many dedicated agencies and people. But there’s no doubt the cats are still under huge threat in all range countries. Also much of the information needs to be updated.
“The Snow Leopard Survival Strategy” edited by Thomas M. McCarthy and Guillaume Chapron, Snow Leopard Trust and Snow Leopard Network, 2003.
The Snow Leopard Survival Strategy (SLSS) was co-authored by several members of the Snow Leopard Network and is a blueprint for saving the endangered snow leopard through research, conservation actions, and establishing government action plans in snow leopard range countries.
The SLSS is a guiding document for establishment of national snow leopard conservation action plans, and has been used as the basis for may projects in India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Bhutan, and for regional action plans for the Eastern Himalaya and Tien Shan.
The goals of the SLSS are to – assess and prioritize threats to snow leopard survival, define and prioritize conservation, education and policy measures, prioritize subjects for snow leopard research, and to build a network of concerned scientists and conservationists for collaboration around these aims.